Yesterday at the MECMA: Violin and Opera Gala Concert

Yesterday's MECMA welcomed Young Classical Star, to perform (Sofie Leifer), as well as three special guests from Malta, opera singers Nicola Said, Clare Ghigo and Angelo Muscat. This concert formed part of the day's series of events also including masterclasses and lessons. 

As part of the EUFSC and SAMIT’s efforts to promote high quality musical education, this year’s edition of InClassica is also incorporating the inaugural edition of the Middle East Classical Music Academy (MECMA), taking place from the 4th to the 23rd of September. This educational initiative features three weeks of lectures, discussions and masterclasses in the schools of piano, wind, and strings, led by a roster of international professors and music pedagogues consisting of some of the most illustrious names active today. In addition, the MECMA is also presenting a series of daytime concerts featuring soloists, orchestras, and prodigies from all around the world, with select Academy students being offered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of joining these artists in live performance on stage.

Yesterday at MECMA


Violin masterclass • Pavel Vernikov
Violin masterclass • Svetlana Makarova
Violin masterclass • Graf Mourja
Piano masterclass • Giuliano Mazzoccante

Quotes from Professors:

Giuliano Mazzoccante
- How has the experience on the MECMA been for you? “For me, it’s something amazing. I think in my life I’ve never seen anything so great, it’s incredible. I’m also an organiser of a festival, not just a musician, so I know how hard it is to organise something very big. I cannot imagine how they organise something like what I’m seeing here. I enjoyed the masterclasses very much, as I was working with students from Japan, Armenia, Dubai, Serbia and Germany. The level was good. Of course, sometimes I had to work hard to explain something very specific, but generally we worked on the music and the sound — that’s the main thing, you know, the sound is the voice. So that’s what we talked about, it’s the main thing that inspires us.”

- How did the students perform in the lessons? “I could see that the students were in a very good mood and felt good here. I have to say that I feel they are very happy and they give their best. Maybe it's because they’re so far away from home they have a certain ‘power’, they feel like, ‘while I’m on here, I’m here to do this — so I show you my best’, and that’s a good thing.”

- What is your view on this happening in Dubai? “I have to be honest, before I arrived here I thought, ‘how will this be possible?’. It’s a different culture, a totally different place, but when I arrived here I realised that maybe it’s more possible here than in other countries. If you are a very great organiser, and you are able to give other people the opportunity to understand how good you are at this kind of thing — that you can be the best — they love you. So, they give you the opportunity to do it. It’s incredible. I cannot say it’s easy, but it’s great, it’s unbelievable, and it’s happened. I will remember it for the rest of my life. Everything is different, apart from the music.”

- How was the experience working with the organisers? “More than fine, believe me I’ve been everywhere and here it’s something special. I’ve met great musicians, great stars from all over the world, and when we meet the feeling is that we feel good. Not everywhere is like that for a musician, believe me, but here it’s good.”

Daytime concert: Grand Concert - Violin and Voices

Young Classical Star:

Sofie Leifer (violin)

Special Guests:

Nicola Said (soprano)
- How did you enjoy working with the orchestra? “The orchestra was lovely, very welcoming and the conductor was very nice.”

- How would you evaluate the event generally? “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope to come back. When you get invited to do this kind of thing you just jump at it. It’s really amazing — how often do you get the opportunity to be in a place where there are so many musicians and artists in one place. So many conductors and orchestras, I’ve never been to an event like this. It’s amazing to be a part of it so thank you.”

Clare Ghigo (mezzo-soprano)
- How did you enjoy the experience? “Good. It was quite interesting because we only rehearsed a few hours ago and it’s nice to get the chance to sing as well, because of COVID we haven’t been able to.”

- How was it working with the orchestra? “The orchestra was very good, they followed us well and it was a really good experience.”

- How would you evaluate your experience with the event organisers? “Fantastic. They’re very organised, I'm very grateful and very lucky.”

Angelo Muscat (tenor)
- How did the concert go? “The concert went really well. Everyone was extremely professional. The orchestra, obviously, is what it is – very, very good. The conductor was really excellent as well, and my colleagues were all wonderful as well. It was a very nice experience.”

- How are you enjoying Dubai? “It’s my first time performing in Dubai, although I hope it will not be my last! The environment here is a very particular one, with the mix of modern and traditional, and the Arabic influences which sometimes really shine through, from the little that I’ve seen that is because I haven’t had a lot of time to travel around.”

- What is your opinion of holding a project like this here in the Middle East? “Classical music isn’t really traditionally at home here, so perhaps it’s something a bit challenging even for the audiences, but perhaps this is because they have not yet been exposed to it as much as we have in Europe and the US, so it’s very nice that projects like these are being organised to introduce more of this music in this region and I hope that there will be more of them in the future.”

Arkady Feldman
“I think it is wonderful that here, within the framework of the Academy, children, schoolchildren and students have the opportunity to perform with an orchestra. This is a big school, they will not be able to get this experience in a piano class. I strongly welcome this initiative of the European Foundation for Support of Culture. I am only positive and very optimistic about this. It is always interesting for me to work with young musicians, because despite their age, each of them strives to be a person and everyone is already a person."

"Today, Sofia and I performed a piece by Alexey Shor. I must say that, firstly, within the framework of traditional music, his works are not modern, they are very melodic and this is pleasant. The Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra plays a lot of Shor's music, so I can determine his authorship by several notes. This is a very interesting story. All his music is programmatic, all his works are conceptual, have names, some kind of history. A very interesting composer."

Kaliningrad Symphony Orchestra


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